Roger Waters: Boycott against Israel is 'way to go'

Former Pink Floyd bassist asks fellow musicians to join BDS campaign against Israel, calls Israel an "apartheid regime."

March 21, 2013 05:50
1 minute read.
Pink Floyd founding member Roger Waters.

roger waters_311 reuters. (photo credit: Mario Anzuoni / Reuters)


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Former Pink Floyd frontman Roger Waters has asserted that the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel is “the most effective way to go.”

In an interview with The Electronic Intifada, he accused Israel of being an “apartheid regime.”

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Waters also said he would publish an open letter to musicians worldwide, asking them to refuse to perform in Israel and at Israeli events.

“What caused me to write this public letter was an affair where Stevie Wonder was hired to play a gala dinner for the Israeli Defense Forces on 6 December last year [after Operation Pillar of Defense]. I wrote a letter to him saying that this would be like playing a police ball in Johannesburg the day after the Sharpeville massacre in 1960,” Waters said.

Wonder cancelled his appearance at the Friends of the IDF gala after several organizations asked him not to perform.

“Where governments refuse to act, people must, with whatever peaceful means are at their disposal,” Waters wrote in 2011. “For some that meant joining the Gaza Freedom March, for others it meant joining the humanitarian flotilla... For me it means declaring my intention to stand in solidarity, not only with the people of Palestine, but also with the many thousands of Israelis who disagree with their governments racist and colonial policies, by joining a campaign of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel.”

Waters said his position was neither anti-Semitic nor an attack on Israelis.

His decision dates to a 2006 visit to Jerusalem and Bethlehem during which he saw the West Bank security barrier.

“The Wall is an appalling edifice to behold. It is policed by young Israeli soldiers who treated me, a casual observer from another world, with disdainful aggression... imagine what it must be like for the Palestinians.... I knew then that my conscience would not allow me to walk away from that Wall, from the fate of the Palestinians I met, people whose lives are crushed daily in a multitude of ways by Israel’s occupation,” Waters wrote in the Alternative Information Center statement.

Michal Toiba contributed to this report.

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